The Story of a Constant Friend

Posted on Friday 1st June 2018

Kilkeel, Northern Ireland. A Saturday night in September. As midnight approaches Fishermen’s Mission Superintendent Lesley Hammond receives a call from a Filipino fisherman. One of his crewmates, Jory, has fallen overboard in the harbour. 

Lesley alerts the RNLI and calls her colleague Superintendent Ingrid Perry to meet her at the Fishermen’s Mission Centre. Within minutes they arrive and meet the crew rushing towards them carrying Jory’s body, wrapped in a duvet.

Jory is taken to the centre where the crew administer CPR. Lesley calls an ambulance. She then rushes to the Lifeboat crew from launching to attend Jory. Both RNLI and Coastguard take over the fight to save Jory in the Mission Centre.

There is an agonising wait for the ambulance. The battle of Jory’s life continues as the distraught crew are comforted by Lesley and Ingrid. In the early hours Jory reaches the hospital with only a faint pulse. Lesley and Ingrid stay with him overnight before returning to support and pray with the crew.

After barely 3 hours of broken sleep Lesley and Ingrid return to Jory in the Intensive Care Unit. They speak to Jory but he barely responds. Later they return to the Fishermen’s Mission Centre to update crew, Skipper and the Philippine Embassy. Using a local Filipino translator, they speak to Jory’s wife, thousands of miles away in the Philippines. Another night follows at Jory’s bedside.

After only a couple of hours sleep, Ingrid returns to the Mission Centre. She supports the crew and contacts UK Immigration to arrange Jory’s wife’s journey to the UK. Her fisherman husband is deteriorating fast and on life support.

constant friend

Ingrid accompanies the skipper and crew to the hospital. they gather around the bedside to pray and weep for their friend. A Fishermen’s Mission New Testament is placed in Jory’s hand.

It’s soon clear that Jory’s wife will not make it to Northern Ireland in time. A Filipino speaking nurse contacts her and permission is given to turn off the life support machine.

Lesley and Ingrid comfort the heartbroken crew. They return to Jory’s boat, the Constant Friend, to gather together his belongings.

Over the course of six emotionally exhausting days, Lesley and Ingrid exemplified the emergency response of the Fishermen’s Mission. Your donations mean we can be there in the darkest of days for fishermen and their families.